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Choosing a school? Ask the right questions.

Let’s face it—school is a big part of life for kids and young people. You’ll want to find one where your child can flourish and be happy. Here’s some tips for choosing a school that’s a good fit for your child and family.

What types of school could my child who is deaf or hard of hearing go to?

Australia has a range of schooling options to choose from. Common ones include:

1. Mainstream school

Your child could go to a typical local primary or high school and attend lessons with their peers. You could arrange extra support if needed, such as from a visiting teacher of the deaf. Government, Catholic and independent schools can all support children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

2. Mainstream school with a specialist unit

Some mainstream schools have a specialist unit or classroom that has been adapted for teaching deaf and hard of hearing children. Your child may be taught just in this unit, or attend some mainstream classes and some in the specialist unit.

3. Schools for children who are deaf or hard of hearing

These schools take a bilingual-bicultural approach in which children usually learn Auslan as their first language and English as their second. The aim is for children to achieve proficiency in both languages and to foster socialisation among both the deaf and hearing communities.

4. Specialist schools for children who are deaf or hard of hearing

These schools have specialist staff, equipment and teaching strategies to support children who are deaf and have a disability or other educational needs.

Choosing a school

It’s understandable that finding the right school can seem overwhelming. Whatever you decide, you’ll want to know your child’s needs are being met. It can help to start by making a list of possible schools in your area, then arranging a visit to see how you feel about each of them.

A few questions to consider include:

  • Do we feel welcome at the school?
  • Is their teaching program suited to my child’s age and ability level?
  • What support options and/or equipment are available?
  • What policies do they have to ensure student wellbeing?
  • How do they meet special educational needs?
  • What’s their approach to teaching children who are deaf or hard of hearing?
  • How will my child get to school and how convenient is it?
  • Will my child have access to visiting professionals such as speech-language pathologists?

It’s important to know that choosing a school doesn’t lock you in for life! If things don’t work out like you’d hoped or your circumstances change, you can always find another one.

Transitioning to school

Starting ‘big’ school and transitioning into high school are big shifts in your child’s life, so they’re both exciting and a little unnerving! This anxiety can be heightened if your child is deaf or hard of hearing.

Successful school transition involves thoughtful planning, preparation and communication. Visiting the school beforehand and familiarising yourself and your child with the staff, layout and facilities is a great idea.

For children starting primary, think about ways to help them get comfortable with the idea of school. Talk to them about it or read stories about it. They could try on their uniform, or you could label their bag and lunchbox together.

Young people often worry about transitioning into high school. Focus on the positives, like the opportunity to meet new people and choose interesting subjects. Encourage your child that most people will be supportive, and things are usually not as scary as you anticipate.

Handy hints and resources for school choice and transition

You know your child better than anyone else and are a key part of their educational journey. Your views, experience and knowledge about your child matter.

Be a great role model. Children learn from watching their parents. Taking a positive attitude towards their deafness will help them feel more confident about school.

Encourage your child to find their passions and like-minded friends by trying hobbies and activities outside of school. Some examples include sports teams, music groups, drama, chess, debating, and dance, as well as support groups for kids who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Talk to other families who have kids at the school you’re considering and ask what they like and dislike about it. Ask local families for school recommendations.

When you visit schools, take a list of questions and a checklist of things you’re looking for with you.

Take photos of the school’s facilities on your device to remind you of what each school had when you get home.

Visit your state or territory government’s education department website to find out more about schools in your area.

At the start of each school year, meet with your child’s school to craft a plan to meet their needs. Enlisting the support of your audiologist can help with this.

Deaf Children Australia links:

Deaf Children Australia supports all communication methods for deaf and hard of hearing children and their families. Schools are divided according to their primary communication approaches (oral-focused or bilingual), and the information below is provided as a starting point for parental research. Please note that information provided may change at any time.
Asterisks (*) denote a P-12 school.

Preschool and Early Learning Centres

Blackburn South
Aurora School
96 Holland Road
Blackburn South VIC 3130
Phone: 03 8878 9878

Sunshine North
Furlong Park Preschool
Cnr Furlong Road & Cooke Avenue
North Sunshine VIC 3020
Phone: 03 9312 3244

Primary Schools (Years P-6)


Yarra Valley Grammar Hearing Unit (*)
Yarra Valley Grammar
Kalinda Road, Ringwood Victoria 3134
Phone: + 61 3 9262 7700

Auslan in Kindergartens
From term 1 2019, 26 Kindergartens or early childhood centres will offer 3 hours of Auslan classes a week.
To view the full list see:


Willmott Park Deaf Facility

Willmott Park Primary School
Dorchester Street, Craigieburn VIC 3064
Phone: 03 9305 6639

Victorian College for the Deaf (*)
597 St Kilda Road, Melbourne VIC 3004
Phone: 03 9510 1706

St Albans
St Albans East Deaf Facility
St Albans East Primary School
Station Avenue, St Albans VIC 3021
Phone: 03 9266 2071

North Sunshine
Furlong Park School for Deaf Children
Cnr Furlong Road & Cooke Avenue
North Sunshine VIC 3020
Phone: 03 9312 3244

East Ringwood
Eastwood Primary School & Deaf Facility
Eastwood Primary School
Alexandra Road, East Ringwood VIC 3135
Phone: 03 9870 6103


Brighton Primary School Hearing Unit
Brighton Primary School
Wilson Street, Brighton VIC 3186
Phone: 03 9592 0177

Glen Waverley
Mount View Deaf Facility
Mount View Primary School
Shepherd Road, Glen Waverley VIC 3150
Phone: 03 9545 0064

Methodist Ladies College Deaf Integration Unit (*)
Methodist Ladies College
207 Bakers Road, Kew VIC 3101
Phone: (03) 9274 6333

Pearcedale Deaf Facility
Pearcedale Primary School
Baxter/Tooradin Road, Pearcedale VIC 3912
Phone: 03 5978 6250

Yarra Valley Grammar Hearing Unit (*)
Yarra Valley Grammar
Kalinda Road, Ringwood Victoria 3134
Phone: + 61 3 9262 7700

Rosanna Golf Links Deaf Facility
Rosanna Golf Links Primary School
Interlaken Parade, Rosanna VIC 3084
Phone: 03 9457 4178


South Morang
St Mary’s College for Hearing Impaired Students (*)
South Morang Campus:
60 Williamsons Rd, South Morang VIC 3752

Wantirna South
Wantirna South Campus:
10 Riddell Rd, Wantirna South VIC 3152

Secondary Schools (Years 7-12)


East Burwood
Forest Hill Deaf Facility

Forest Hill College
178-180 Mahoneys Road, East Burwood
9814 9444

Frankston South
Mount Erin Deaf Education Centre
Mount Erin College
Robinsons Road, Frankston South 3199
Deaf Facility: 5971 6005 / Web tel: 5971 5043

Macleod West
Charles La Trobe Deaf Facility

Charles La Trobe College
Kingsbury Drive, Macleod West 3085
9223 1400
email: ATTN: Deaf Facility Manager

Melbourne CBD
Victorian College for the Deaf (*)
597 St Kilda Road, Melbourne VIC 3004
Phone: 03 9510 1706

Sunshine College Deaf Facility

Ardeer Campus (7-10):
Cnr Glengala Road and, Allison St, Sunshine West VIC 3020
Senior Campus (11-12):
Graham St, Sunshine VIC 3020
Phone: 03 9361 9022


Methodist Ladies College Deaf Integration Unit (*)
Methodist Ladies College
207 Bakers Road, Kew VIC 3101
Phone: (03) 9274 6333

Yarra Valley Grammar Hearing Unit (*)
Yarra Valley Grammar
Kalinda Road, Ringwood Victoria 3134
Phone: 03 9262 7700


Dandenong, Ringwood, Morang, Sunbury
St Mary’s College for Hearing Impaired Students
Dandenong Campus (7-12):
5-11 Caroline St, Dandenong VIC 3175

Ringwood Campus (7-12):
46 Great Ryrie St, Ringwood VIC 3134

South Morang Campus (P-12):
60 Williamsons Rd, South Morang VIC 3752

Sunbury Campus (7-12):
1 Macedon St, Sunbury VIC 3429

Rural and Regional Schools


Bairnsdale Deaf Education Program
Bairnsdale West Primary School
Wallace Street, Bairnsdale VIC 3875
Phone: 03 5152 3516

Bairnsdale Secondary College
90 McKean St Bairnsdale 3875
Phone: 03 5150 4800

Ballarat Deaf Facility
Forest Street Primary School
Cnr Forest & Hancock Streets, Wendouree VIC 3355
Phone: 03 5339 2110

Ballarat Secondary College
PO Box 1877, Ballarat Mail Centre Vic 3354
Wendouree Campus 7-10)
Phone: 03 5336 7829
Barkly Campus (11-12)
Phone: 03 5336 7223

Grovedale West Primary School
85 Heyers Road, Grovedale 3216
Phone: 03 5241 4774

Grovedale College Deaf Facility
Grovedale College
19 Wingarra Drive, Grovedale 3216
Phone: 03 5245 4526 (Voice/TTY)

Shepparton Deaf Facility
Guthrie Street Primary School
PO Box 1310
Phone: 03 5821 1944

Shepparton High Deaf Facility
Shepparton High School
PO Box 1247, Shepparton, 3632
TTY: 5822 1899

Bendigo Deaf Facility has three campuses:
Kennington Primary School (P-6):
17 Crook Street, Bendigo VIC 3550
Phone: 03 5442 3083

Bendigo South East College (7-10):
Ellis Street, Bendigo, Victoria 3550
Phone: 03 5443 4522

Bendigo Senior Secondary College (11-12):
PO Box 545, Bendigo Victoria 3552
Phone: 03 5443 1222

Further Education

Being deaf or hard of hearing should not stop you from accessing higher education. Victorian TAFEs and universities strive to provide access for people with disability, and support such as notetaking, captioning or Auslan interpreting should be provided for individuals registered with the education provider’s disability support services, though proof of disability may need to be provided. For a list of disability support units within Victorian TAFEs and universities and more information on disability access, see the Study in Victoria website.